Abid Saqi
Abid Saqi

ISLAMABAD: The first thing Abid Saqi did on Thursday after having been elected unopposed as chairman of lawyers’ regulatory body — Pakistan Bar Council (PBC) — was to pass a resolution for filing of an appeal before the Supreme Court to challenge the Jan 13 Lahore High Court (LHC) short order which voided former president Pervez Mushar­raf’s conviction in the treason case by a special court.

Abid Saqi belongs to the Asma Jehangir group and is considered a diehard supporter of the PPP. The election was held at the PBC office, inside the Supreme Court building, and the meeting was chaired by Attorney General Anwar Mansoor.

After the elections, the 22-member PBC held a meeting to express appreciation for services rendered by Syed Amjad Shah, the outgoing vice chairman.

The council deliberated upon the LHC’s recent verdict declaring formation of the special court on the high treason case against retired Gen Pervez Musharraf as unconstitutional and expressed its opinion that assumption of jurisdiction by the high court at such a stage was uncalled for.

The PBC also discussed the Nov 28 judgement of the Supreme Court in the army chief’s extension case and observed that the petition was “seemingly taken up out of turn” and then the move to order parliament to carry out legislation “raises eyebrows and appears to be motivated”.

The council expressed concern over the disappearance of Inam-ul-Rahiem, an advocate, and called for his release. It sought legal action against those behind Mr Rahiem’s “unlawful detention”.

The council decided to become a party in the case before the apex court. The Pakistan Bar Council reiterated its stance regarding appointment of superior court judges by the Judicial Commission of Pakistan and expressed concern over the process.

The council was of the opinion that the judicial commission had not lived up to the legal fraternity’s expectations and it appeared that most of the appointments were being made in a “non-transparent manner and without consultations with stakeholders”.

The council urged the commission to amend the rules in the light of proposals made by it and provincial bar bodies.

The PBC called upon the parliament to amend the Constitution’s Article 175-A in order to ensure an equal representation of the judiciary, the legislature and the bar in a reconstituted judicial commission.

The council disapproved of the amendments made by the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government in the Civil Procedure Code and in laws against the sale and use of narcotics. It urged the government to withdraw the amendments.

The PBC took a serious note of the unfortunate incident at the Pakistan Institute of Cardiology (PIC), Lahore, last month. The provincial bar councils were directed to ensure disciplinary action was taken to curb recurrence of such incidents.

Abid Saqi, the new vice chairman, said from now on, there would be no strikes or demonstrations by lawyers.

The PBC deliberated upon the case management system in the Supreme Court, as well as in the high courts, and expressed its disappointment that despite repeated requests by bar councils and bar associations, “no attention is being paid by the Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) and the chief justices of high courts”.

The present practice of occasional constitution of benches at the Supreme Court registries should be stopped and instead, the benches should work there for at least two weeks on a particular case, the PBC suggested.

The council constituted a two-member committee consisting of Abid Saqi and Syed Qalb-i-Hassan, President, Supreme Court Bar Association, to take up this matter with the CJP.

Published in Dawn, January 17th, 2020